PLDT, Globe seek TRO against PCC over San Miguel telco buyout

Rappler.com
PLDT, Globe seek TRO against PCC over San Miguel telco buyout
(UPDATED) The Philippine Competition Commission says it is 'disappointed' that the telcos are blocking a 'comprehensive review' of the deal

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – PLDT Incorporated and Globe Telecom Incorporated are seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to preserve the P69.1-billion buyout deal of the telecommunication assets of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

PLDT and Globe said in separate statements that they have filed separately a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with an application for a TRO against the PCC with the Court of Appeals on Tuesday, July 12.

“We were constrained to file the Petition to uphold the deemed approved status of the transaction under the terms of the PCC’s transitory circulars,” said PLDT regulatory affairs head Ray Espinosa.

“The transaction has been deemed approved by operation of law. The transitory circulars issued by the PCC have the force and effect of law. We complied fully with the terms of the circulars. The legal effects and consequences of such compliance cannot be reversed or undone by the PCC,” he added.

Meanwhile, Globe insisted that “PCC cannot withhold and block the transaction out of a process not found in their own rules, and not disclosed to the public.”

Under the own rules of the PCC, the transaction is already deemed approved, and the PCC cannot by whim or caprice state that it wants a review without any legal basis,” the Ayala-led telco said.

Globe said there is nothing anti-competitive with the transaction to warrant its disapproval.

“In fact, the immediate use of the underutilized frequencies have spurred a series of competitive data offers that drastically brought down prices of mobile data for prepaid customers,” Globe added.

Confirming the petitions filed before the Court of Appeals, the PCC said it is disappointed with the telcos’ legal action.

“PLDT is seeking to prevent the PCC from exercising its mandate to review this transaction,” the commission said in a statement. “We are disappointed that they have decided to resort to a lawsuit against the PCC to prevent a comprehensive review of this deal.” (READ: PLDT, Globe shares down as PCC keeps an eye on SMC telco deal)

The situation stems from PLDT and Globe’s buyout of SMC’s telco arm Vega Telecom, a deal which would give them access to its prized 700 MHz band.

The PCC decided to review the deal to see if it were in consumer interest. It then rejected both PLDT and Globe’s initial transaction reports, which the two firms have since resubmitted.

All 3 players met last Friday, July 8, for a dialogue. Following the meeting, the PCC maintained its position that the acquisition “is not deemed approved.” (READ: PCC, telcos meet to discuss San Miguel telco buyout)

But the telcos stood their ground, saying the deal is already “deemed approved” and “may no longer be challenged” by the PCC. 

PLDT and Globe also recently activated their first 700 MHZ cell sites.

PCC said that “while it is working on an expedited basis to complete the review as quickly as possible, PLDT in their recent action have now sought to delay resolution of an issue which is of great importance to public interest and welfare.”

The commission added, “We are confident that our courts will recognize the significance of protecting consumers and promoting competition in the market, and the authority of the PCC to independently exercise its mandate.” – Rappler.com

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